Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

"I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state ... I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can't say it wasn't interesting."

Roger Ebert started reviewing movies for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967, he wrote several books, a few screenplays, was a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago, won a Pulitzer Prize, and hosted several very popular television shows that lasted for decades. He was a lifelong Democrat, and urged Michael Moore to do his infamous acceptance speech at the Academy Awards. He openly disagreed with the policies of the MPAA, and he even dated Oprah Winfrey before he met and married Chaz Ebert in 1992.

A few years ago he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and lost most of his lower jaw after numerous surgeries, and he still kept going. Two days before his death he announced that he was leaving his position at the Chicago Sun-Times to focus on his health and recovery after they discovered cancer in his hip bone after an injury. That goodbye letter to his fans he posted on his blog was wonderful, but the hundreds responses to it were even more so. It was clear that he was loved, and he will be missed.

On a personal note, he was one of my favorite critics. Although I didn't always agree with his opinions, I always respected him because he was a brilliant writer.

He passed away on Thursday, April 4 2013. He was 70 years old.


Billie Doux said...

What a lovely photo. I'm not sure I believe in the afterlife, but it's nice to think of the two of them together reviewing movies again.

I'm not much for snark in my reviews, but my favorite review of Ebert's is of Battlefield Earth. (And it's here, if you want to read it. It begins: "Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way." I remember laughing until I couldn't catch my breath.

He was an extraordinary reviewer, a giant among us. He'll be missed.

celticmarc said...

The end of an Era. I already miss him.

Another reminder that we're only passing through.....

Nick said...

Was sad to hear this. His reviews were always something I went looking for, even if it wasn't always to see what I should watch. The man was just a fine, great writer, and his reviews (as well as his other musings on life and other things) were great works in themselves.

ChrisB said...

Ebert's reviews were always my first choice. I more often than not agreed with him and, even when I didn't, I loved his use of language.

Nice tribute, J.D.